Sticky Note Legacy

Like a long-lost treasure—hidden in plain sight—the yellow sticky note written in my mother’s beautiful handwriting caught my eye. Alzheimer’s had stolen her handwriting several years before I found the note. Stuck to an old newspaper in her bedroom, it read,
I am fading away but Jesus is keeping me everyday.” And under that, she wrote, “Heb. 12:1-14.

A few years after she died, I traced her handwriting from her sticky note onto a yellow canvas that is now displayed in my home.

14446029_10154456164769534_7006356135191575533_nIt’s a poignant, beautiful reminder of His faithfulness and my mother’s unwavering faith, even in the midst of deep sorrow.

My mother, Anita Bubeck, bravely endured Alzheimer’s for fifteen years while my father, Mark Bubeck, faithfully cared for her in their Phoenix home. When she passed away in 2013, I asked my dad if I could have her Bible, the one he had given her later in life. I found some more sticky notes in the front of her Bible, one referencing Hebrews 12:1-2 again.

I call this my sticky note legacy.

The progression of my mother’s disease is evident in the notes she scribbled throughout her Bible. She used whiteout to rewrite her first name, perhaps misspelling it the first time. Near a favorite Psalm she wrote, “Pas The Lored,” and by Philippians 4 she wrote, “Paise God. Ameen God.” Though she couldn’t spell the word, she still chose to praise Him.

I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand—at least this side of heaven—the “God why” behind the ravages of Alzheimer’s on my mother’s mind and body before she passed away. But I do know that the ripple effect of her faith has forever impacted my family, including generations yet to come! And I’ve chosen to cling to Hebrews 12:1-2 as the focus of my own life as I seek to run the race marked out for me…

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great could of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily untangles,
and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,
who for the joy set before him endured the cross,
scorning its shame,
and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2

I’d love to hear from you. What verses have become the focus of your life and why. Feel free to leave a comment or email me. 

(If you have a loved one struggling with dementia or Alzheimer’s, check out the book Keeping Love Alive as Memories Fade: The Five Love Languages and the Alzheimer’s Journey by Dr. Gary Chapman, Dr. Edward G. Shaw and Deborah Barr. The central message of the book was inspired by coauthor Dr. Shaw’s moving personal story of caring for his wife with early-onset Alzheimer’s, coupled with his innovative use of the five love languages in dementia counseling.)

Like? Please Share:

23 Responses

  1. Judy, you have shared the story of your mom & dad’s beautiful legacy with me before, and it has touched my soul in deep places. It has been said, “There is a more beautiful thing than young love . . . old love.” In the midst of the challenges of old love, there is such grace in a Godly dance that causes a younger audience to pause and take notice. I love you for sharing your heart, so that you could touch mine, again! Love, Debby “Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you…” Isaiah 46:4

  2. My mom has Alzheimer’s. I was cleaning her closet out last spring and ran across her old stash of books. It was precious to me to read the books and follow her faith journey through the margin notes and underlined paragraphs. Her life was difficult but to read her spritual “journals” have taught me of her resiliency through trials.

  3. I don’t have a marked up, ragged Bible from anyone in my family, but I am determined to leave one (or many!) for my son. Living out faith and reliance on His Word, like your Mom did is so powerul. I heard once that faith is caught, not taught! I pray for your sticky-note legacy to keep going for generations upon generations!

  4. This is so moving Judy! I too ask our Father in heaven “why” when it comes to our loved ones or our suffering. I know that our God is faithful to see us through this “short” time on earth and it’s for a greater purpose and for His glory that we go through such pain and sorrow. My verse in this season that I’m at right now is, Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. I hang on to this knowing that the work is started, by God and that He will complete it. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story and the love that you have for your mom. Hugs! Annie

    1. Annie – So great to hear from you! And thank you for sharing your verse. Love that one so much. I also just listened to a new Steven Curtis Chapman song titled “Hallelujah, You are Good” which is such a great reminder of His goodness even in the midst of the questions we have.

  5. This post is so touching, dear Judy. Your mother sounds like a remarkable woman, and I’m so glad she left behind her Bible for you — what a precious gift. Romans 8:28 and Proverbs 3:3 have always been near and dear to my heart. I’ve seen Romans 8:28 play out in my life too many times to count, and it’s a constant reminder of our Father’s goodness to us. Proverbs 3:3, on the other hand, is a constant compass for my soul. “Let love and faithfulness never leave you. Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”

  6. One of the many poignant aspects of this piece is that, though the mind gets foggy—or in your mother’s words fades—the truth of God’s Word is still in there. It’s important for us to hide His Word in our hearts and minds, because that’s something that will never fade. Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Judy, your life story is beautifully told. It should inspire all of us to ask our parents, children, and siblings about the important things in their lives and record them. We need to have representations of our loved ones as we celebrate our love for them.
    I’ve interviewed my father and he gave me 22 pages of details of his childhood. I’m creating a book with photos for his family to enjoy.

  8. Hey Judy. Thanks for sharing. I also have my mother’s bible. She wrote so many things, her thoughts, special bible verses, sermons, etc. We both had awesome mother’s who loved and served the Lord. I wish I had a strong dad who loved the Lord, and showed me what true love was. I wonder about that a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I love my father because he is my father, but he sure didn’t know how to love us with Christ’s love. All his put downs, beatings, name calling did really affect me. I always wonder what I would have become if I didn’t have a praying mother. Her hands were tied when it came to him, but I know she always prayed.

    1. Julie – Thank you for sharing your heart. I loved your mom like my second mom! So grateful you have her Bible, too, and memories of her love and prayers over you. I wish I had known more about what you and your sisters were going through as little girls. I hope our Father God has met your heart in ways only He can. You are one of the bravest women I know as I’ve watched you in the midst of grieving the death of your son and the health issues you’ve faced these past few years. You are strong and courageous!

  9. My go to verse to push away anxiety and fears is Proverbs 3:5-7. It brings such comfort. My grandmother also suffered with Alzheimer’s. Through it all, she remembered her Bible verses and Catholic prayers. It shows the power of memorizing scriptures.

  10. Beautiful Judy! Blane and I read this together just now before turning in for bed. Several times in life we have clung to this verse and God’s promises. “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” Is. 43:2. We have faced the loss of two former spouses, the death of one of our parents at the young age of 56, the passing of a sister as a toddler, grown children making choices that rip at your heart, a loss of employment, and the valley experience of not being able to find a job for two years. Now we have three aging parents with mental decline, one in the midst of Alzheimer’s. All this to say, we survived to share about God’s faithfulness, protection, love and guidance inspite of some of life’s hardest circumstances. We did not drown, we did not burn up, but we made it through embraced by His mercy and grace! We may not always understand the many reasons why, but I am thankful He can enable ones heart and mind to finally rest in that is alright.

Leave a Reply

Discover more...

Soon, and Very Soon

(I wrote this on February 28 in honor of my father-in-law, Dee Dunagan, not knowing he would peacefully pass away by the end of the

Read More »

Toddler Christmas

Last year I wrote a post about our Still Christmas where we chose a quiet, still Christmas because of my dad’s death just a month before.

Read More »

Covered in Hope

My father, Mark I. Bubeck, was “promoted to Glory”—as he liked to say—on Monday, November 6, 2017. For the weeks leading up to his death,

Read More »

Get the Free Guide!

Subscribe to my newsletter and receive The Power of Praying Scripture (e-book) for free.